April 6th, 1943

April 6th 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines to let yous know I got your letter and was I ever glad. It’s the first letter for a long time. Write and let me know what night yous are going to have my going away party. I’d like to bring a few, 2 fellows, if it’s alright.

How is Ray getting along, fine I hope. I’m having lots of fun here with Fat and Waugh, we go to the show every night. There’s a stage show to-night and it’s at the drill hall, not very far to walk about 100 yards.

One of the fellows got a letter from Petawa and there’s still 5 feet of snow there. Boy is it ever cold here, darn crazy weather, can’t make up its mind. We offered it back to the Indians with $1000 to boot and they threw it back in our face.

Tell daddy not to forget the bottle for me to take away.  Well, that’s all I can think of for now except tell Bin to get some girls for the party.

Lots of love and kisses

Your son
The East End Kid
General Gord

April 6

[Shannan’s Note – When Gord mentions Petawa, I suspect he means Petawawa, Ontario, located in Renfrew County, on the west bank of the Ottawa  River. Petawawa is still a major hub for Canadian Military at the CFB Petawawa base.]

March 29th, 1943

March 29th 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

I’m sorry I haven’t wrote sooner, I didn’t have any stamps or money till yesterday and then I was on duty last night. Well we’re all through our training and are we having it easy, this morning we went out on a route march, came back at twelve, had dinner then went away back in the woods behind the camp and told stories till 5:15 then broke off for the day. On Sun when I was coming back I met one of the guys at the bus station, he drove me back to camp.

The next time I come home it will be my last leave until July so how about a little party, and how is Marg, I haven’t wrote to her yet.

How is Ray getting along pretty good I hope. We have been told where we are going but I can’t say, but it’s a two day and two night train ride.

I’ll try to get home for a couple of hours on Sat. If you can get any stamps send them, they are awful hard to get here. You can tell by the date I started to write this letter a couple of days ago but I didn’t have any stamps.

Well that’s all I can think of for now, see yous Sat.

Your son,

10th Platoon

Gord and his Platoon at their training base in Brampton. 10th Platoon, C Company, 24th Regt. March 1943.

[Shannan’s Note – it’s tough to tell from the photo, but I think  that’s Gord in the front row, second from the left. I assume this picture was taken upon completion of their training]

March 4th, 1943

March 4th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a line to let you know that I got the box + registered letter and was I glad.

I won’t be getting my week-end this week because there was 4 Ptn so they tossed for it and I lost so we get ours next week. But I may go home on Sat, but I don’t know for sure.

I’m having lots of fun it’s getting to be a better camp every day.

We went into the gas chambers to-day at 2 o’clock and it’s now 6:30 and I’m still crying.

Boy is it cold here, our rifles were froze this morning. We had our first exam today in first aid and I passed. We have our Bren Gun test to-morrow I think I’ll pass because I had it when I was in the R.C.E.

How is Marg getting along? I hope she is being a good girl, does she come over very often?

You say Mill moved up, when you see her tell her to write, the time goes fast when you get lots of letters. Marg writes nearly every day. Well I can’t think of anything else to say. Write soon.


[Shannan note – this letter threw me for a loop initially…the mention of “gas chambers” had me a little confused because all other things point to Gord not only still being in training of sorts, but likely still being in Canada (the mailing address he provides for return mail to this letter is in Brampton, Ontario and there was a Royal Air Force base there, RAF Wyton). A little bit of research leads me to believe that he’s talking about mustard gas training.

In doing the research for this post, I found a great interview documented on The Memory Project website where a WWII veteran speaks about his experience with mustard gas training. You can listen to that here: http://www.thememoryproject.com/stories/387:george-ens/ . If you find Gord’s story interesting, I strongly suggest spending some time on The Memory Project website.

The Bren Gun that Gord mentions being tested on was the primary light infantry machine gun used by the British and Commonwealth in WWII and the Korean War. Gord also mentions using the Bren Gun when he was in the R.C.E, and all investigation suggests that he is talking about the Royal Canadian Engineers.

Lastly, I’m fairly certain that Gord is kidding when signs his next few letters “Major” unless he somehow managed to climb military ladder faster than anyone in history, also he signs a few future letters as General… 🙂 ]

February 28th, 1943 – Coat Hangers…

February 28th, 1943 – Brampton

Dear Mom, Dad,

Just a line to let yous know I got back okay. Boy am I getting it easy this morning, my boy friends and I had to sweep and scrub the orderly room. It took us about an hour and now we’re through for the day but still C.B. if we weren’t I’d get home but I’ll stay and catch up with my sleep and writing and washing. It’s pretty hard to write here there is 2 guys playing the pianos it sounds alright to.

Don’t forget to send the box because I’ll be looking for it and send me a couple of coat hangers that’s what I need the most.

Well I can’t think of much more to say so good-bye for now, see yous all soon. Will write to-morrow.

Lots of Love,
Your Son,


[Shannan note – The photo above is the whole gang – brothers Gerald (Pork), Ray, Gord, and dad Edward… Also, no blog post tomorrow, I’ve got a full day of family ahead. The Oakwood Kid will be back on Monday – see you then! 🙂 ]